Reflections in the Mirror

Reflections in the Mirror

An essay on love by María Jimena Sánchez, highlighted from the February 2024 essay contest. Join us for future projects and contests in the community forum, with an upcoming writing workshop hosted by novelist Tara Isabella Burton.

It was a cold morning, one of those mornings when you wish you could stay in bed all day. Yet, the first rays of sunshine sneaking through the window were telling me it was time to start a new day.

With all the strength I could find in that moment, I got out of bed and walked straight into the bathroom. I turned on the lights and quickly stared at myself in the mirror. Not sure of what I had seen, I looked again, this time with more attention.

“Who is this?” I thought to myself.

“It's me, who else would it be?” I replied with irony.

Yet, I felt there was something missing from that answer. There was something I was not able to recognize in my reflection in the mirror.

“What could I be?” I asked to myself.

The years had indeed passed. I could see I was now a grown woman. Still young and naive in many aspects, but far from my teenager years.

“Well, I don't see anything different. Maybe I'm still too sleepy,” I thought.

Yet, I knew I was more awake than sleepy at that moment. So, I kept looking. And this time, I looked beyond the marks on my skin, beyond the pimples, beyond the strains of hair falling onto my face. I looked deeper.

“Who is this woman? This woman who isn't constantly looking for validation or approval from others. This woman who isn't blaming herself for every little thing. This woman who has embraced both joy and grief as part of the beauty of life. This woman who felt loved, loved by others and by God,” I thought.

“This is me,” I replied, with a smile akin to that of a kid on a Christmas morning.

In that moment, I understood how far I had come. I had spent so many years hating the person in the mirror, unable to recognize myself in it. Now, standing before my reflection, my heart is full. I can finally accept and love the woman I am, flaws and all.